Successful Sponsorship Licence application for a well known fashion brand to hire creative workers
Our Head of Immigration, Dr Lusine Navasardyan was approached by a well-known boutique fashion brand for advice in respect of retaining services of one of their designers.
The employee was someone who held a Youth mobility visa that was due to expire. She had worked for the Client for over a year and had shown indispensable skills in design and pattern creation. The Client was extremely keen to continue to employ her, given the importance of retaining talent in such a competitive industry as fashion.
Having received the client’s instructions on their circumstances, Dr Navasardyan and her team assessed the matter to see if there were any other possible solutions for the migrant. Not being able to identify any alternative solutions, the team started evaluating the possibility of obtaining Sponsor Licence for the Company in order to enable them to sponsor the employee.
Organisations that want to bring workers from overseas require to hold Sponsorship Licence. However, before embarking on the journey of making an application for sponsorship, best immigration lawyers would always recommend ensuring, in the first instance, that the Licence can be useful for the organisation.
Therefore, Dr Navasardyan and immigration team carried out assessment of the criteria for the job to be sponsored. If the position that the business is looking to cover will not satisfy these criteria, there is little sense in obtaining the licence, as it simply will not be of any use and the organisation will not be able to sponsor the migrant.
Sponsorship Criteria: Skill level
In order for the business to sponsor an overseas migrant, they must not only hold a Sponsors Licence, but also obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship for every migrant they intend to sponsor. Unless the vacancy they wish to hire for meets skill requirement, together with other requirements, the Home Office will refuse issuing a CoS. This means, the organisation will not be able to offer sponsorship and hire the migrant.
As such, the team looked at the skill level involved with the position that would remain vacant after the Client’s employee’s Tier 5 visa would expire.
Tier 2 is intended to be a scheme for highly skilled migrants. This means that only jobs that normally require a Degree Level education. Home Office has published an Appendix that contains all the job classifications and their levels and only those classified as RQF level 6 are normally accepted.
In this particular case, the work the employee was doing was below the required skill level. However, there are certain exceptions from this rule and the team looked into whether the job would fall under such exception, as some creative jobs are exempt. Carefully considering the employee’s job description against the example job descriptions contained within the above-mentioned appendix, the team identified the exception that the client could avail of.
With this, the first hurdle was cleared and the team continued with assessment of the rest of criteria.
Sponsorship Criteria: Salary rates
The next criteria to be considered whenever there is an intention to hire an overseas worker, is the salary rate that will be paid to the migrant. Unless the migrant falls under certain exceptions, the salary needs to be at least £30,000 or higher, if the position they will occupy falls under a code that has a higher salary associated with it. Again, this information is found in Appendix J, to the Immigration Rules, published by the Home Office.
The team, therefore, ensured that the salary the Client was intending to pay met the minimum rates.
Sponsorship Licence: Resident Labour Market Test
Having determined that the proposed job position would meet the necessary requirements, the immigration team then proceeded with advising the client on the requirements in respect of Residential Labour Market Test. This test is meant to ensure that the businesses offer vacant positions to resident workers first, before attempting to hire overseas.
Resident Labour Market Test has a very specific process and poor understanding of it may lead to failing to secure the Certificate of Sponsorship for the migrant or even to having their Licence suspended or revoked.
For companies that are looking to apply for Sponsorship Licence, there is no requirement to demonstrate that they have already carried out this test prior to making the application. However, in instances, such as the present case, where the application is being made to secure a specific employee, it is always best practice to carry out the RLMT prior to making the application.
RLMT is effectively an advertisement campaign, which needs to be carried out for at least 28 days and through specific channels. There are strict requirements as to what it must contain and how the evidence in respect of it is collected and kept. Our immigration team has many years of experience on advising on RLMT and is capable to pick-up the smallest issues with it.
Dr Navasardyan and her team advised the client in detail on how to carry out the RLMT and then monitored the process closely, to ensure compliance.
Once the team was satisfied that RLMT had been successfully passed, the Sponsor Licence application would be submitted.
The team was then ready to proceed with the Sponsorship Licence application itself.
Sponsorship Licence: requirements
To ensure that sponsorship licence application would be successful, the team then carried out assessment of the Client’s suitability for sponsorship Licence, purposes. For this, the business had to prove:
- They are a genuine organisation legally operating in the UK.
Therefore, the team looked at the organisation’s registrations, considered any legal requirements in respect of authorisations and regulatory registrations. Ascertaining the client had all the relevant legal documentation in place, the team moved forward with assessment.
- They are capable of meeting the Sponsor duties.
For purposes of assessing the matter under this criteria, the team carefully consider the policies and procedures the Client had. They then made recommendations for improvements where required.
- They are able to demonstrate genuine need for Sponsorship Licence.
As the Client was applying for Licence to be able to retain a crucial worker and Resident Labour Market test had already been carried out, these elements were used to demonstrate the genuine need for Sponsorship Licence.
- They offer a genuine vacancy that meets the Tier 2 skill level requirement and are able pay the salary appropriate for that job.
The team prepared a detailed cover cover letter highlighting the skill and experience the employee had and how her departure would affect the business. We further demonstrated the company’s ability to meet the salary payments.
The team also ensured all evidence demonstrating the above was at hand and ready for submission.
Sponsorship Licence: Application
Having concluded the preparatory process, the team proceeded with the application submission. This involved filling in the online application, helping the client identify the key personnel, so that they can be named on it and then assisting them on submitting it online.
With the online application submitted, the team then ensured that the supporting evidence was ready to go out within the deadline of 5 working days. The evidence was then sent to the Home Office together with a detailed cover letter, which set out the business’s background, explained the skill requirements and demonstrated how each one of the requirements for holding a Licence are met.
The the Client was also advised on the likelihood of having a Home Office visit prior to them making a decision. In certain cases, the Home Office might find the submitted evidence to not be sufficient to determine an application and they would look to verify certain aspects themselves. This is done through an inspection visit to the business premises. The client was a well-known brand and as such, the risk of the visit was very low, of which the client was advised.
Sponsorship application was granted in under 3 weeks of the date of submission.
Follow up work
Following the grant of the licence, our team also assisted the client with securing the Certificate of Sponsorship , as well as conducted a Sponsor licence training with relevant personnel to ensure they were aware of their duties and ready to discharge them. The Company was also offered a continued support with their Licence.
To find out more about sponsoring overseas workers, please contact us to speak to one of our experiences UK immigration advisers.